Senate committee passes bill to change the way lawsuits against the state are heard

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 202 on Monday to modify the standards for venue and jurisdiction in actions against the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Current law requires that all civil actions involving the Commonwealth of Kentucky be assigned to the Franklin Circuit Court.

SB 202, sponsored by Sen. Wil Schroder and supported by the Kentucky Chamber, would allow litigation involving the Commonwealth to be heard in circuit courts throughout the state rather than only being heard in Franklin County.

In a committee meeting Thursday where the legislators heard testimony on the issue but ran out of time for a vote, Schroder explained that the current system prohibits people in the rest of the state to have lawsuits heard by the people they elected to their circuit courts.

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson also testified on the bill Thursday and said the current process is a costly and time consuming one that often makes it hard to do business in Kentucky.

“We are one of a minority of states that have this kind of archaic provision and we think it’s time for us to make change in that regard so that we accommodate the businesses of Kentucky as opposed to the government infrastructure that is headquartered in Frankfort,” Adkisson said.

Greg Higdon of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers told legislators Thursday that the bill is a common sense solution to a current problem by allowing the case to be heard in either Franklin Circuit Court or the circuit court of the private party’s county of residence or where the action occurred.

Senate Bill 202 now heads to the full Senate to get a vote on the floor.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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